The ABC still needs us to fight for a properly funded, independent public broadcaster, and ABC Friends Victoria is not resting.
So the Committee of Management, subcommittee members and representatives from local groups met on 12 February to plan our next steps. We have done well against the goals we set in our Strategic Framework 2020-2023 and we focused on what our next steps should be.
Cassandra Parkinson, the President of ABC Friends National opened the day and explained how the national body is leading the advocacy work that underpins the actions we take at the state level.
We need to be aware of the danger of complacency now that there is a new federal government
Cassandra said. Funding that was cut over the past 14 years has not been restored.
The implications of these losses are serious and significant. The need for greater funding is urgent and needs to be addressed
She said. Privatisation is never done in one action. Over time, if funding is insufficient quality falls, people turn away from the ABC and it becomes easier to privatise.
So the national body will continue to fight for adequate funding with a focus on independence. For example, truly merit-based appointments to the ABC Board and transparency in the process.
A significant part of the day centred on the work of the ABC Friends Victoria subcommittees, their roles and goals and how we can address the challenges. Common themes emerged: maintaining enthusiasm, increasing membership, engaging more diverse communities such as younger people and CALD communities, keeping ourselves informed about the challenges to the ABC, and improving public understanding about public interest journalism and public broadcasting more generally.
The New Gen initiative which aims to reach a younger demographic has been launched, and will attract a whole new audience and community of support. Our research showed that those under 35 years were not aware of the ABC’s role and importance to Australia’s democracy and culture, and our ambitious programme aims to address this.
The Communications subcommittee will continue to produce materials – written flyers, social media posts and other resources – as well as research issues and coordinate information. Once a new logo has been finalised these new resources will be available.
Representatives from local groups reiterated their enthusiasm to get the ABC Friends messages out to their communities and continue to educate and inform them.
The workshop was a great opportunity to shape our activities for the next year, and to re-commit to the cause.
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